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Hidden as colors, crypto seed phrases could hide in plain sight, says dev

Hidden as colors, crypto seed phrases could hide in plain sight, says dev


A newly released tool called “BIP39 Colors” is turning Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto wallet seed phrases into colors — giving users a potentially new way to hold their funds in cold storage.

The developer, only known as Entero Positivo — Spanish for “positive integer” — released BIP39 Colors on June 25, which helps translate a 12- or 24-word wallet seed phrase into an unassuming and seemingly random array of colors.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Positivo said he created the tool because seed phrases will always need to be backed up somewhere physically and someone “seeing something with 12 or 24 written words is very obvious. […] Many people know what it means.”

“Where and how do I store my words? Written on paper? On a titanium plate? What if a thief thoroughly searches my house and finds the paper with 12 words written on it?” he said.

Explaining how it works, Positivo said the tool converts BIP39 words — the 2,048-long list of words used to create seed phrases — into eight or 16 colors alongside their hex codes depending on if a 12- or 24-word phrase is used.

An example of a color palette generated using 12 random BIP39 words. Source: Enteropositivo.github.io

However, the hex color codes don’t just represent the BIP39 word, explained Positivo. It also dictates the position of that word in the seed phrase.

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“The colors are generated in such a way that they carry part of the information of the position occupied by the BIP39 words and information related to their position,” he explained.

This allows for the phrase to be backed up “in a disorderly way and in several different places,” and as “colors are everywhere,” it can make storing a seed phrase “less obvious to any hacker or thief who gains access to our house or computer.”

AI-generated image depicting what artwork designed using Positivo’s tool could look like. Source: Stability.ai

To ensure the utmost safety, Positivo suggested that users should not use his tool on an internet-connected device. Rather it should be downloaded and used offline, or better yet, the color swatch can even be created manually using a calculator.

Though it happens infrequently, crypto users have had their entire seed phrases exposed publicly before.

In a viral video in late 2022, a Nevada police officer’s body camera footage inadvertently caught a glimpse of a suspect’s seed phrase written on a slip of paper. The footage later became part of the public record, allowing anyone to see the phrase.

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